Don’t Skip the Conditioner


Shannon Moore, NCMG  |  Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

Is it really necessary to prolong the bathing experience by using a conditioner when you are bathing your dog?  Spending an extra one to three minutes in the bathtub can drastically improve the condition of the pet’s skin and coat. Bathing removes some essential oils leaving the skin and coat more vulnerable to dehydration.  Shampoos are designed to remove unwanted dirt and debris from the skin and coat.  Then, there are solution oriented shampoos that are specifically designed to treat an issue.  If you do not seal the hair shaft with a conditioner after the bath, the hair shaft remains open where residue can enter and hydration can escape.  Conditioning the coat will seal the cuticle, which in turn, will help restore hydration, moisture, and elasticity. Conditioners are designed to provide the delicate balance of maintaining healthy skin and coat while the skin naturally replaces the healthy oils that were temporarily depleted during the bathing process.

Different types of conditioners work best on different types of coats.  Drop coated dogs such as Yorkies, Shih Tzu, and Lhasa Apsos need conditioners that are loaded with silk proteins. This type of conditioner is designed to help build a strong, healthy, shiny, and more manageable coat. Dogs that have normal skin and coat to a mildly dry coat, such as labs, pugs, short haired mixed breeds, etc., should use a lightweight conditioner to help replace the oils that were removed during the bathing process. This will help revitalize the skin and coat.  This will make coats smoother and healthier, while providing extreme hydration to the skin.  Pets that have dry skin and coat, matted coats, and even undercoats should turn to a more intense conditioner to help restore hydration.  Dry coats will become incredibly moisturized without becoming limp or lifeless while leaving the coat weightless.  For those pets who suffer from irritated skin, conditioners that are rich in antioxidants are a great choice.  An antioxidant rich conditioner will soothe the skin while simultaneously helping to protect the skin from free radicals which can cause damage if ignored.

Regardless of the type of coat you are working with, it is important take a few extra minutes and condition the coat. Reducing static electricity while improving manageability, removing any left-over residue, and temporarily replacing the healthy oils in the coat are just to name a few reasons you shouldn’t skip the conditioner!

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